Saturday, July 05, 2008

Pay Dirt: Bar vs. Church

N.L. bar owner says church is unfair competition
Friday, July 4, 2008 CBC News

A bar owner in Conche, on Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula, says the Catholic Church is cutting into his profits by taking away his business.

Brendan Fitzpatrick owns Fitzpatrick's Lounge, the only bar in the community of about 250 people.

On Saturday nights in the summer, Fitzpatrick said, his bar tab usually runs from $2,000 to $2,500. But the local Catholic congregation has put an end to that with its Saturday night community dinners at the parish hall, he said.

Fitzpatrick told CBC News the church held its sit-down dinners on Friday nights in past summers.

"There's no problem with holding them on Friday nights. It's just Saturday night is the nights that I've had bands booked.... Now, in the last month or so, I've had to cancel three of them," he said, adding that he pre-books the bands in the winter months for the summer shows.
Fitzpatrick told CBC News he tried to work with the parish hall committee that hosts the dinners, offering to cater the events, but they declined.

Fitzpatrick said he now intends to take his fight to the diocese's bishop.

The parish committee declined a taped interview with CBC News, but spokesperson Alice Flynn said the parish has a policy that only parishioners can cater events at the parish hall.